French immersion program to expand due to high demand

This is the time of year parents start registering their little ones for kindergarten and French immersion is gaining interest.

9 public schools in Windsor-Essex will offer French immersion program by September 2014

This is the time of year parents start registering their little ones for kindergarten.

When they fill out the paperwork, they'll have a choice about whether their child should be put in French Immersion.

By September 2014, French Immersion will expand to nine schools in the public system, including at Forest Glade Public School.

Right now, the numbers show there are more than 3,500 children enrolled in French immersion in kindergarten to Grade 8.

"When you start French it's difficult, but after, it gets a lot easier when you go along and if you start from a younger age then you get more experience on it," said Devin Yates, a Grade 7 student at Forest Glade.

Students are starting younger.

Numbers from the public board show 2,700 children in the program between 2010 and 2011.

Between 2012 to 2013, there were more than 3,000 children in French immersion.

Now, there is so much demand, that the public school board will be rolling it out in nine more schools.

"We like to think we're very good at what we do," said Scott Scantlebury, with the Greater Essex County District School Board. "We deliver on the promises of the program and students are successful in French immersion."

Jessie Hardcastle is still trying to figure out whether she wants to put her four-year-old daughter in French immersion.

"I've read some of the research on it and that it's really beneficial for children to learn a second language in their early years," she said.

Scantlebury said offering immersion doesn't come without its challenges.

"It does create some concern for the board because in those areas where we offer French immersion, we are finding the greatest demand on accommodation, so we are having accommodation pressure pretty much in every area where we offer French immersion programming"

Starting this fall, French immersion will expand to Grade 9.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.